Can You be a Free Range Parent in Michigan And Not be Accused of Neglect?

A young girl kicking a soccer ball on a field. She's having fun and laughing, but she is alone.
Allowing your child some freedom, responsibility and independence can result in neglect charges in Michigan!

How do you encourage your children to be independent, self-reliant, and responsible as they grow up? According to the free range parenting movement, you encourage them to function as independently as possible, with limited parental supervision, while still expecting them to be accountable and responsible for their actions. 

It’s a movement that’s slowly gaining in popularity across the US, but one that conflicts directly with what most child welfare agencies believe is acceptable. So what can you do if you want to be a free range parent, but don’t want CPS running around after your kids, accusing you of neglect? That’s a tricky question…

Will CPS come after you if you leave your kids alone?

Michigan law doesn’t specify a definitive age when parents can safely leave a child unattended. According to CPS, they don’t have a specific age in their policies either, but they have guidelines. For example, according to MDHHS guidelines, children aged 7 and younger should never be left alone for any period of time, but kids aged 8 to 10 could be left alone for short periods of time, and only during daylight hours.

The guidelines go on to say that kids aged 11 to 12 can usually be left alone for up to three hours, and teens 13 to 15-years-old can be left unsupervised, but not overnight. However, the guidelines also state that there are other factors that come into play here, like the child’s maturity level, whether or not they have access to a phone to call for help, and if they’ve been put in charge of other, younger children.

CPS claims they don’t punish parents for age-appropriate parenting…

CPS in Michigan has a long history of persecuting parents for allowing their children freedom. Allow your older child to play baseball in a park near your home? Unless you were sitting right there watching them play, you’re a negligent parent according to Michigan CPS. Let your kid walk to the bus stop two blocks away? If you weren’t walking with them, you run the risk of being accused of endangering your children. 

Although logic would suggest that CPS workers, who are notoriously overworked, don’t have the time to hunt down every parent who lets their children have a bit of freedom, case history begs to differ. Many Michigan parents have been mercilessly pursued by CPS workers who were utterly convinced that their children were in danger due to neglect. And in most cases, the parent had done nothing for than allow their children some small freedoms.

Don’t let CPS violate your parenting rights

You have a Constitutional right to parent your children the way you see fit. Obviously, there are laws that protect kids from abuse, but on the whole it is your place to decide how your children should be raised. So don’t let CPS strip you of that right, or try to interfere with your parenting choices. Your kids are your responsibility, and if you’re doing your best to raise them to be self-aware and responsible members of society, no one has the right to interfere with that!

So if CPS has accused you of being neglectful, or allegations have been made against you for “neglecting” your kids by allowing them too much freedom, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled CPS defense attorneys are standing by, 24/7 to help you defend your rights and keep your family together!